We all want more exposure for our blogs. Why else do we write them? So syndication can seem like a no-brainer. Of course, you want to publish on a site that gets thousands more views than your own does. But before you jump in with two feet, make sure you’re syndicating the right way.
First things first. What is syndication? This is the practice of re-publishing your blog content on another site. Often it’s a news site, or a industry topic site that hosts a lot of content for a large audience. Or it could be a site solely dedicated to helping you push your content out to wider audience.
Why is this a potential SEO killer? Search engines don’t want to return results that are duplicative to their searchers. It’s not a good search experience to get 20 listings of the exact same content. So when your content is out there on multiple sites, search engines have to choose which of these sites is the most relevant for the searcher. LexBlog product manager, Josh Lynch explains it well.
“If you duplicated a blog post on another larger publication, the copy of your post will almost definitely appear in search results above the original on your blog. There’s a good chance this larger publication has been publishing for much longer, have better PageRank and many more inbound links, so it’s an obvious choice for a search engine to rank their copies of the post over your young blog where no original content may even appear to be published if you’re syndicating it all.”
Not so great for your own SEO.
How do you avoid death by SEO and still get the exposure? 3 Main Ways:
- Canonical tags—This is the ideal and simplest solution. It’s a short tag that goes in the code of the post you are syndicating (not your original post!) that tells search engines that this is a duplicate and where to find the original. Read more about this on the Mozblog.
- Change your post when you pass it out to other sites—Provide an excerpt with a link back to your blog or change the text significantly enough to not be considered duplicate. This makes more work but could potentially drive more traffic back to your blog.
- No-index meta tag—This tag tells search engines not to consider the page for search results at all. Similar to Canonical tags, you would put it in the code of the post you are syndicating. It’s not the best option as your syndicator probably won’t like it and it somewhat defeats the purpose of syndicating to begin with.
In all cases you should make sure your post always contains a link back to your blog as the original content. It’s always nice when your syndicator will provide a blurb at the top that says “Originally published on awesomeblog.com on July 21, 2014” with a link directly there.
Bottom line? Request canonical tags—reputable sites will comply without question. Syndicators are mainly looking for quality content to keep their site populated with relevant content their readers will love. So it’s a win-win for them and for you to get more exposure for you and your blog. Go for it!
Photo credit: Pleuntje via Flickr Commons